cloud-first-approach-arif-janmohamedThere are multiple reasons for companies to take a cloud-first approach to running their businesses. It provides greater agility and increased flexibility. The business benefits of shifting from a CapEx to an OpEx expense model. Plus, cloud services are ideally suited to support a mobile workforce, enabling employees to work how, when, and where they choose to.

Arif Janmohamed, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, sees all of these factors as part of the "inexorable shift" that companies are taking away from legacy frameworks to cloud models.

"Companies no longer want to be in the business of stacking servers and storing data,”said Janmohamed. Companies want cloud services that are easy to use. That's one of the reasons why Lightspeed has invested in Nutanix, an enterprise cloud company whose hyperconverged solution simplifies data center infrastructure by integrating server and storage resources into a turnkey platform.

"Nutanix is helping companies to build their private clouds but with the agility and economics of the public clouds, like Amazon," said Janmohamed. "Companies are looking for infrastructure that scales - infrastructure that enables new types of data-driven apps using data that's traditionally been too expensive to store and analyze using premise-based technologies."

Meanwhile, as millennials continue to pour into the workforce, they're reluctant to use company-prescribed desktop machines or even laptops. These biases are prompting CIOs to approach application delivery differently, explained Janmohamed.

"Millennials want to use the device of their choice and they don't want to be told which apps they can use," said Janmohamed. To address these preferences, CIOs are creating app stacks that are mobile and cloud-first.

Although we're still in the "early innings" of cloud adoption by enterprises, an increasing number of CIOs and organizational decision-makers are looking beyond how they might just adopt a CRM platform such as Salesforce and exploring how they might be able to utilize a marketing stack or build a more sophisticated set of cloud application workflows, described Janmohamed. This type of approach is helping to fuel the early success of Lightspeed-backed companies such as DataStax (database software for cloud apps), MuleSoft (platform for building application networks), Gainsight (customer success management platform), and OverOps (real-time intelligence on application performance).

It's also leading CIOs to rethink how to go about securing cloud platforms and apps. "As companies begin to move their infrastructure from behind the firewall to the perimeter and position their apps as cloud-first, this is going to create a unique set of security challenges around the perimeter paradigm."

One Lightspeed company, Netskope, is a cloud-scale security platform that provides context-aware governance of all cloud usage in the enterprise in real-time, regardless of how it is accessed. These types of capabilities are helping CIOs to reimagine their organization's approach to utilizing cloud services.